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Posts Tagged ‘blake farenthold’

Public disclosure forms released Wednesday show that Texas lawmakers have widely varying financial situations.  In an OpenSecrets blog post, Tarini Parti breaks down how many members of Congress invest in media organizations.  Parti explains that this could be a conflict of interest because many members have a “vested interest…in the performance of the same organizations that are supposed to be their watchdogs”.

Of the 60 lawmakers that have media organizations investments, 6 of them come from Texas.  They are Congressmen Michael McCaul (R-TX26), Kenny Marchant (R-TX24), Michael Burgess (R-TX10), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX25), William Flores (R-TX17) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX27).

          From left to right: Congressmen Bill Flores, Blake Farenthold, Kenny Merchant, Michael Burgess, Lloyd Doggett, and Michael McCaul.

The largest investor in media organizations from the Lone Star State is Rep. Michael McCaul with anywhere from $179,018 to $505,000 invested in companies like Comcast Corp., Walt Disney Co. and CBS Corp. The disclosure reports only require members of Congress to list their assets and debts in broad ranges.

Disclosure reports also show that not all members of Congress from Texas are wealthy enough to invest in media organizations however. A Washington Post article points out that many Republican freshman lawmakers who campaigned on reducing the federal debt are in substantial debt themselves.  One such freshman lawmaker is Congressman Farenthold.  The disclosure reports show that the Congressman could have anywhere between $45,000 and $150,000 in credit card debt.  However, Flarenthold does list that he has anywhere from $2,002 to $30,000 in personal media investments in the Walt Disney Co.

The public disclosure reports that came out this week provide the public with a better understanding of how lawmakers chose to spend their money. The reports show that some lawmakers have chosen to invest in companies that are supposed to report in a fair and unbiased manner on campaign issues and congressional ethics. The documents show yet another example of why disclosure laws are important. The public has a right to know how lawmakers spend their own money so they can trust them with their tax dollars.

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Towards the end of January an independent panel of judges, the Office of Public Interest Counsel, and the EPA all recommended that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality deny the proposed permit for the Las Brisas petroleum-coke burning plant based on its multiple deficiencies and clear violations of the Clean Air Act. The Perry-appointed commissioners approved it anyways. According to its permit, Las Brisas will emit 220 pounds of mercury, 100 pounds of lead, 8,096 pounds of sulfur dioxide, and 1,767 tons of particulate matter every year.

Communities in Corpus Christi are left with few options: the ultimate authority of the EPA, and the leadership of their elected officials.

“This is my hometown, and I love it,” Rebecca Lyons, a graduating honors student at TAMU Corpus Christi, told Matt Tresaugue of the Houston Chronicle back in January, “But I don’t want to raise a family here because of the health risks…There has to be a better way.”

After hundreds of letters, petitions, and phone calls made to the EPA, Corpus Christi residents are taking their fight to the online world. Join us!


Take Action Online!

Copy and paste this status and video to the EPA’s Facebook pages!

Corpus Christi doesn’t want Las Brisas. Stop the air permit now! http://bit.ly/merA7n

EPA’s Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/X4FYe

EPA Region 6 Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/lBXW9C

Administrator Lisa Jackson’s Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/130rQ6

Are you on Twitter? Tweet with us!

@epaGOV @lisapjackson I want clean air! Stop the Las Brisas air permit in Corpus Christi, TX!
http://bit.ly/merA7n

Ready to go the distance?

Ask your elected officials if they support responsible growth, or Las Brisas. Copy and paste this to their Facebook pages:

I’m a voting constituent, and I don’t want Las Brisas. Do you?
http://bit.ly/merA7n

US House Rep Blake Farenthold: http://on.fb.me/f2XnkP

State Rep Connie Scott: http://on.fb.me/jj0qJv

State Rep Todd Hunter: http://on.fb.me/mpSG5d

Mayor Joe Adame: http://on.fb.me/km137a

State Senator Judith Zaffirini: http://on.fb.me/lbxOW5

State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa does not have a Facebook page.
Send his office an email instead!

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